Category Archives: My world

Everyone loves a pixie coat!

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Everyone loves a pixie coat! Even Rosie rabbit has one, made from the hood of one of mine, when the bottom (literally) fell out.

From Friday 29th November to Friday 6th December, you can purchase a short coat for just £25 or a long coat for £35, and as an extra gift from me, I’ll send your parcel, in the UK, for FREE.

Email me from this blog to buy a coat, or if you have a query, or if you need me to measure for you.

If you’re looking for unusual gifts for your friends and family, why not consider a magical story, written by The Riverbank Witch. You can find of all of my books on their pages. Signed books are available directly from me, and like the pixie coats, as an extra gift, if you request a signed one, I’ll post to the UK for free.

Thanks so much for dropping in and I do hope I shall be hearing from 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

 

Plant based recipe of the week – week 12 – Gluten Free Bread

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I know it’s been a long time coming, but I’ve found, tried and tested a whole food, gluten free bread recipe that’s really tasty….and it works!

The original recipe is from Lilykoi Hawaii on YouTube, a vlogger who I follow and have learned an awful lot from, especially about nutrition and the workings of the gut. You can find her and her videos here https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7ZkWBYAAMKgcl1eMjCt3jQ

This bread recipe was originally for a bread maker, but this method works, and cooks the loaf right through.

Gluten Free Bread

 1 cup brown rice

1 cup groats

1 cup rolled oats (I used porridge oats)

½ cup millet

½ cup buckwheat (I used gluten free plain flour blend)

Blend all the above and place in a large bowl.

Grind 4 tablespoons whole flax seeds and add to the bowl. (Makes approx. 5 tablespoons of ground seeds)

3 tablespoons of psyllium husk powder

½ tspn salt

2 tablespoons sweetener (I used coconut sugar)

 

Mix all together.

 

Add 1 tablespoon instant yeast

3 cups of water, all in together

1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses (optional)

 

Mix well with a spoon and don’t stop!

 

Into 11/2 pound loaf tin (I used a silicon one)

Place in warm oven in the middle for 30 minutes.

Turn the heat up for a further hour, approx. 350 – 375 degrees.

A few tips….

If you’re using a metal tin, grease it lightly first.

Leave loaf in tin to cool before turning out.

If using the silicon loaf ‘tin’ and you don’t want your loaf to bulge like mine did, you can put a couple of tins in the oven on either side of the loaf, to stop it spreading out so much.

My loaf needed the full half an hour in a warm oven, and a full hour baking. On one trial, I was worried it was burning because I could smell it (I think it’s the molasses making it smell!) and I took it out ten minutes early and it was a bit damp in the middle.

Find someone to share this loaf with, because it doesn’t freeze well, or you can do as I do which is to enjoy the loaf for three or four days, and then use what’s left for breadcrumbs to make five minute mushroom burgers. Here’s the recipe https://wendysteele.com/2017/11/27/plant-based-recipe-of-the-week-week-1/

I love the flavour of this bread! It works well as toast too. I’m going to experiment over the next couple of weeks, using half the mixture to make a loaf and the other half to make a pizza base….I’ll let you know how I get on.

Do pop back for more recipes, healthy eating tips and ideas, updates on our house renovation and all the news about my writing and books. Be sure to share this website to anyone else who might be interested in the world of Wendy Woo. Bright blessings to you all xx

 

Living in the country – Needing to react 2

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We have five stone built buildings on our land, plus a couple of sheds, as well as a range of wood and tin barns. Our original plan when moving to Wales in the summer of 2013, was to focus on the main house first, and once that was done, we’d work on sorting out our field and building a shower and toilet block to offer a camping retreat, and a retirement income for us. But in February 2015, the front of the byre attached to the house came down in a storm and the tin roof blew away, exposing the delicate, fragile roof timbers.

 Our plans had to change, we threw all our time and money into saving the byre. Once the builders had left, it was down to us to lime mortar the walls, inside and out, and then begin applying the layers of lime wash that keep the building watertight.

After last week’s flooding, and water coming up into our lounge, we’ve backed off from our plans to complete our growing room, to grow vegetables throughout the year, and switched our focus to finishing lime washing the byre, and lime mortaring and repairing the kitchen and lean to at the back of the house, ready for the winter. This later extension wasn’t built as well as the main house, so we’re going to need to dismantle the stones above the kitchen window and rebuild it, but this weekend, we made a start.

There was a lot of rain in Wales over the weekend, so I didn’t manage as much as I’d hoped. The front of the byre has another coat of lime wash. Lime mortaring the end kitchen wall is underway. I’ll need a dry day to lime mortar the back wall, as dripping off the tin roof makes it impossible.

While the rain poured down, I weeded and cleared the last remnants from our raised beds and covered with cardboard, weighed down with stones. My partner, Mike, has some of the framework up on the inside of the lean to, ready to take the new roof panels, but we can’t take the old roof of until we can see two dry days in the forecast…we might have to wait a while.

It’s been a busy weekend, but a frustrating one in so many respects, as the rain and the daylight leaving so early have thwarted much of what we hoped to achieve. Join me again for more updates, as we renovate and repurpose our land, here on our little hillside in mid Wales.

Ghostly Rites Anthology 2019 – meet the author Lynn Mullican

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The Ghostly Rites Anthology 2019 (and the name has changed!) is almost here! I’ve invited one of the authors, Lynn Mullican, to share a little of her writing life and inspiration on my blog, and I’m looking forward to finding out how another writer writes! Welcome Lynn…

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 do not outline my stories. I have a plot and story line but as my story progresses, my characters tell me and show me what they are going to say and do. I do, however, have a set ending for every story, otherwise, my story would just continue to grow.

Other writers often ask, are you a planner or a panster, so it’s great to meet another author who is half and half!

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

I usually start out with a cup of coffee in my skull mug. I keep my office fairly dim when I write, that way I can create a slightly darker atmosphere, since my most of my writing is on the darker side.

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

Hmm, I’m a bit OCD, nothing to the extreme but there are a few things I’m particular about, double checking locks on doors, putting my remote controls together in a particular way, and I’m sure there’s more. 😉 My due date was on October 31st, Halloween but I was born two days later on the Day of the Dead, November 2nd. My day job and my writing are both a bit on the darker side. I have to research and investigate fatalities. I enjoy archery and the outdoors. I studied martial arts with my family. I was studying for my brown belt in Kenpo when I had to step out of it due to a couple of reasons, primarily because of a knee injury I sustained several years prior. I was born with a disability and had to wear braces on my legs because of it.

I wonder how much your birth date has influenced your writing? Fascinating stuff. Gutting you’ve had to give up martial arts but archery, especially outdoors, sounds like fun!

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

My bow and arrows, pen and paper, and a boat. 😉

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

  1. The Green Mile by Stephen King, as a reminder that even through the difficult times, you can always find a friend, even if it is a mouse.
  2. Boys Life by Robert McCammon because it’s always good to remember where you came from and to persevere.
  3. Edgar Allan Poe’s Complete Collection because I don’t think I read the entire book. Plus, there are some great stories in there.
  4. The Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by Anne Rice because I haven’t read the series and I was told they are good books.
  5. Lightning by Dean Koontz. I’ve read this book three times and it will continue to be a favorite of mine.

Interesting choices. Thanks, Lynn.

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

 Anthony Hopkins

Fabulous actor, and I bet he has great tales to tell about Hollywood and the stars.

 7 Your current writing projects?

I’m currently working on many projects, one of which I feel is way overdue, my novel The Shadow of Evil. I’m also working on the fourth book in the Bad Elements series, Rise of the Underground. I have also started a spinoff of the Bad Elements series, Immortal Blessings.

 I have several short stories in the works, The Awakening III, Raven’s Hill III, and a few others.

Wow! You are a busy lady!

 8 Feel free to share with us your published work and links, so we can find them…

 

My short story, Where the Streets Have No Name, will be coming out in the Ghostly Rites 2019 Anthology. I also have two more short stories, From the Pen to the Grave and From the Dance to the Grave, which will be coming out soon. These two short stories will only be available in E-Book format.

Some of my other books include; the Bad Elements series, Crystal Dragon, Blood for Blood, and The Hybrid Unleashed.

My short stories series include; Raven’s Hill and Raven’s Hill’s: The Ritual, The Awakening, and The Awakening II: Nexus. My Raven’s Hill stories can also be found in The Ghostly Writes Valentine’s Anthology 2017 and the Ghostly Writes 2017 Anthology.

 Other short stories include; Sacrificial Blood and Zero Sixx.

 https://www.facebook.com/Author.LynnMullican/?fref=ts

http://lynnmullican.blogspot.com/

https://twitter.com/lynnmullican

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4842137.Lynn_Mullican?from_search=true

https://www.amazon.com/Lynn-Mullican/e/B0055WRN3U?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1572037482&sr=1-1

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/lynn+mullican?_requestid=2596149

https://books.apple.com/us/author/lynn-mullican/id1302690845?ign-mpt=uo%253D4&mt=11#see-all/books

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/search?query=lynn+mullican

https://www.24symbols.com/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&search=lynn+mullican&commit=

https://www.scribd.com/search?content_type=books&page=1&query=lynn%20mullican&language=1

https://play.playster.com/search?text=lynn%20mullican&filters=books%26audiobooks

https://www.bookbub.com/search?search=lynn+mullican

Thank you so much, Lynn for joining me on the blog. It’s really lovely to meet you.

Don’t forget, the Ghostly Rites Anthology is nearly here! Look out for more blog posts in the next few days!

Here’s the first link to the anthology https://books2read.com/b/mv2Vvz?fbclid=IwAR26KQhAcEmRWTNWSzJ-Bz9dLYGf2KwNxYKj9g2H9fRxIMnbMXrY3NRYRZc

 

Living in the country – needing to react

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There are so many benefits to living in the country, but also potential problems. While we planned to move to Wales, we made sure we took into account the location of any property to a river that might flood. We chose and bought a house on a hill, with a riverbank a long way below it. Last year, at the beginning of October 2018, our river burst its banks and our riverbank was flooded for the first time in over thirty years.

We hoped it was a ‘one off’, but this October it has rained and rained, and every morning on my walks, I’ve watched the river rising and surging. Last week the rain was torrential, with strong winds gusting on our hill. On Friday morning, the river was three feet from flooding, and by four o’clock in the afternoon, just one foot away.

This weekend we were planning a tidy up of the land, a final clear around and clear out of barns, and last bramble and nettle hack back, plus internal lime mortaring. Instead, we found ourselves having to react to another crisis.

The river didn’t burst its banks, and the fields around our neighbour in the mill house didn’t flood, so she was safe in her home from flood water but….we hadn’t realised that the water had gathered behind our house. The back of the house has always been an issue, the kitchen having been added on in inferior slate and the ‘lean to’, has little footings, a broken plastic roof and neither have any guttering. Our builder performed the necessary work to stop the stone built extension moving, and we’ve insulated and whitewashed inside to make it ‘useable’, but we always knew we’d have to put serious work into repairing this part of the house…we didn’t realise it would have to be so soon. But on Saturday, it was all about reacting, saving our possessions and trying to use the minimum effort to work temporary repairs, as the water behind our house seeped beneath it.

We’d already cut part of the carpet away due to the actions of a naughty cat (!), and stacks of towels was our best bet keeping the flood water contained. And then we began to dig. We didn’t want to dig too close to the house, but the drip water was settling close, so I began by cutting a small trench a few feet from the house, and then digging smaller ones from the drip water to help it drain away. These photos do not do justice to the hard work it was! I thought I was going to be peeling off turf, but the ground is stony.

We dug round the front too, pulled out all the grass and leaves from the concrete ditch around the house, and dug across the driveway so the water could drain into our overflow pond. The ditch used to protect some of the house when it only had a tin roof, but the thatch pushes the ‘dripline’ out further, so one job we have to schedule is digging and concreting in a new ditch around the house.

But we stopped the water rising further, and when the rain stopped on Sunday, the trenches began to dry out, as did our lounge.

We’re now behind with our clearing up and indoor lime mortaring, but mattocking and digging for so much of Saturday, I was exhausted on Sunday, and chose to rest up a little. I did make food though, so do pop back for whole food plant based recipes that you will love!

 

 

I never wanted to be a leader

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My Dad never liked being the one in charge. That’s why he married my Mum. She loved being the leader, and he was happy to be her most loyal supporter. He didn’t ‘lead’ at work either, remaining Assistant Manager of a Horne Brothers Men’s Outfitters branch for over fifty years, only taking the lead for a few weeks each year when the Manager was on holiday. I must take after my Dad because…

I never wanted to be a leader. Leaders are there to be shot down. Leaders take all the criticism, complaints and problems. Leading is lonely.

I remember in the lower sixth form at school, taking on the role of actor, director and producer of the Oak house play, to be performed before the whole school and a panel of judges from the community; journalists, head teachers and clergy. No one else wanted to do it. I adapted and shortened Tom Stoppard’s The Real Inspector Hound, every copy of the script produced by me on an old Gestetner machine. We rehearsed for weeks, and costumed the play and built the props ourselves. The judges loved it, but the school hated it. Collecting our trophy, I was booed off the stage. I never wanted to be a leader.

When I became a mother, I made decisions for my children when they were small. I did my best to lead by example, making every choice and decision in their best interests. There were days I felt alone, isolated and afraid, but I stuck at it. Supporting them through their schooling and University, I’m so proud of the strong, capable adults they’ve become…but I’m glad they make decisions about their own lives now! I never wanted to be a leader.

At the age of forty I discovered the magic of bellydance, empowering me when I needed it most. I discovered how supportive and wonderful it is for women’s bodies and minds. I never wanted to be a teacher, but I couldn’t keep this power to myself. I knew how important it was. For me, it was never just about the dancing. There’s a special bond between people who dance together. So I put my fears aside and went to college to learn to be a teacher. I began with Phoenix Bellydance, teaching Egyptian bellydance workshops, courses and classes, to girls and women of all ages and abilities. I worked hard to be the best teacher I could, training with Hossam and Serena Ramzy, Katie Holland, Kay Taylor, Charlotte Desorgher and many more.

I discovered ATS Bellydance and Tribal Fusion and attended workshops and classes, happy not to lead, and then my ATS Bellydance teacher asked me to lead a tribe in Wales. For five and a half years, I worked hard to be the best teacher I could be, and to create a safe space for women to be themselves and dance, always respecting the needs, wishes and sensibilites, of all tribe members. I never wanted to be a leader.

I never wanted to be a leader. The move to Wales, the logistics of moving two adults and three cats, and fifteen years of possessions to Wales to live in a tent in a field, took some doing, and all the while, Mum’s healthcare needed to be monitored, fortnightly visits made from Wales to Essex being the outcome, strategies put in place so she’d be visited by friends every week. Meetings and difficulties with scaffolders, thatchers, heating engineers, CADW, planning permissions, councils….I lead the way to get our renovations started, so we could live our life in Wales.

And now I’m done. I’ve spent my life working hard for the good of my school, my children, my dancers, my parents and my partner. I’ve agonised over decisions to try to please everybody. I’ve taken so much flack my protection bubble has dents in it!

We’re nearing Samhain, the end of my year. It is a time to remember those we have lost. I miss my Mum and Dad. It is also the time for reflection of the past year, it’s highs and lows, successes and failures. It is time to decide what to carry forward to the new year and what to leave behind. It is time for new plans and new ideas.

I never wanted to be a leader.

 

Life Begins at Fifty – Healthy Life #15 – Everything is changing

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Finding the perfect, balanced vegan diet for my body is taking time, but I’m enjoying the challenge. Abandoning calorie restriction was the best move I made, as I’m loving eating bowls of plant based whole foods and feeling full and energised…and I’ve lost another two pounds.

Due to my daughter asking to come and live with us in June this year, everything has changed, and that’s one reason I’ve not been posting as much. I’ve taken my books to book fairs…

But there’s been little time for writing as I’ve been lime mortaring and painting to get a room ready for my daughter.

My eldest son married this year too, so it’s been a summer of family love.

The biggest change is the best one, and I’m going to shout about it….I’VE MORE ENERGY THAN I’VE EVER HAD! Eating a whole food plant based diet keeps me fuller for longer and nourishes my body so well. I’ve enjoyed my dance so much this year too, now I bend in the middle again! I’m not the same shape as I was, that’s definitely changed, but I don’t care…I can fit in my jeans and I feel well and healthy.

My lack of novel writing made me sad and angsty for a while, so I started writing short stories again and had a few published…

Witch Lit: Words from the Cauldron was produced by myself and the rest of the Witch Lit Admin team, Laura Perry, Sheena Cundy and Ruth Aitken. All proceeds go to Books for Africa https://www.amazon.co.uk/Witch-Lit-Witches-Who-Write-ebook/dp/B07SCVXR88

Zimbell House publishing brought out 1969, and my story is the first one in it. https://www.amazon.co.uk/1969-Zimbell-House-Anthology-Publishing-ebook/dp/B07S2L2HQX

But as the Wheel turns, making its way into autumn, I’m back writing ‘The Able Witch’, the fifth book in the Lizzie Martin series. Once its finished, I’ll continue with the final book, before publishing four, five and six for your enjoyment. You can start the series here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Naked-Witch-Wendy-Novel-Book-ebook/dp/B06W5D6GVV

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

Don’t forget, you can listen to me reading you stories on my Welsh riverbank at Phoenix and the Dragon on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw3ee9CuNdek9ZC1Im8I_iA?view_as=subscriber

Plus I’m talking books and everything magical on the Witch Lit Podcast, as well as interviewing other magical writers https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHtAJO5uh6c9TSai1lhwF7g

I’ve continued my daily walks and using Dr Gregor’s Daily Dozen App, but I don’t worry too much about my activity levels anymore. I know that if I eat whole food plant based, and take my B12 supplement, I’m taking in all the nutrition and goodness my body needs. If I want a berry, banana and spinach smoothie, I’ll have one! I drink two or three mugs of hibiscus tea daily, which I love, boosting my antioxidants and keeping the colds away. I dance a minimum of six hours a week, not including performances, and I’ve been barrowing, chopping wood, fixing barns and moving stuff outside….

So I won’t be joining the gym anytime soon!

Apologies for my lack of posting, but I’m starting to create a new routine out of all these changes, and I’ll be back soon trying out new recipes and sharing useful and informative posts and videos to inspire you to eat well, nourish your body and live your life to the full. Bright blessings xx

 

 

 

The Beauty of a Book Fair

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This weekend was the Narberth Book Fair in Wales, and I shared a table with my friend Nicola Beechsquirrel on the Sunday.

There’s no doubt that at a book fair readers love to buy books, and authors love to sell them, but there’s so much more to a book fair than that.

Book fairs are a great way for authors to meet other authors ‘in the flesh’. Lizzie Lamb and I had been interacting online for a while, so it was great to meet her, and have a chat. We talked writing, book covers and marketing among other things, and I always find having spoken to other authors, I have ideas about ways that I can publicise and share my work that I might not have thought of otherwise. Seeing how authors have set out their tables with banners, leaflets and book marks, is always useful too, showcasing their books in the best light they can. All the authors at Narberth are friendly and happy to chat and share. Some authors I’ve known for the past four years now, and it’s great to get together, catch up and share news.

I’ve met up with Greg Howes at a couple of recent steampunk events where I’ve been dancing, rather than writing, and the fabulous Carol Lovekin lives near me, so I often see her in town, but it’s always good to meet up at a book event, where I wear my author hat.

On top of all that, I get to talk about my books and my writing all day, with other authors and the public, so what is there not to like?

And the readers? They get to meet, speak to and have books signed by the authors whose books they enjoy reading. My favourite moment of the day was when a reader picked up the third book in the Lizzie Martin series, The Flowerpot Witch and asked if I would sign it for her. I said, of course, but that she did realise it was the third book in a series. She replied that she did know because she had read the first two books, had enjoyed them and was thrilled to have a third one to read and to meet the author who wrote them was wonderful. I told her there were three more on the way to finish that particular series and she left with a huge smile. (I know, I should have asked her if she would like to leave a review saying she’d enjoyed my books, but I was excited to meet a fan!)

And that’s another beauty of a book fair; for an author to meet a reader who has enjoyed their stories is the biggest boost there is.

Readers also like to talk, and not just about books, so this weekend I’ve talked about organic gardening, spinning, crochet, magic and archaelogy!

My only regret at this particular fair was that I didn’t attend a workshop by the lovely Juliet Greenwood, which I would have enjoyed so much, but we were a little delayed getting there, so I spent so long setting my table up, I was too late (and too embarassed!) to walk in once it had started.

Huge thanks go to Judith Barrow and Thorne Moore for making the Narberth Book Fair 2019 a resounding success.

Support a book fair, and have a wonderful day.

 

Holding myself to account

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After almost two months away from writing my novel, I’ve found it difficult re-establishing a writing routine, so I decided to hold myself to account to write for 10 minutes every day. It doesn’t matter what I write, as long as I write. Here are the first six days’ work for your enjoyment. Let me know which you enjoy, and whether you’d like to see any of them expand into a short story or novel.

Day 1

The leaf dripped with morning dew. Balancing in Tilly’s eye line was a magnificent dragonfly. Golden light flooded across the hills, and the dragonfly rose into the air to greet it. Gossamer wings shimmered, the dragonfly steadying herself on the hastening breeze, and Tilly reached out her hand. Tiny feet touched her skin and Tilly’s world turned upside down.

She stood on a mountain top, her hair blown this way and that by a warm wind that wove around her body like a snake. Beneath her feet, there was darkness so black and solid that she almost stepped out into the abyss. Above her, the wind parted the clouds, and out of the bright blue firmament shone a light so bright that Tilly took to her knee and shielded her eyes.

Her head filled with the warm, honey light and the darkness fell away. Peter’s infidelity and her mother’s spite and venom were gone, swallowed by the cavernous mouth.

She stood alone in a field outside her village, a wooden gate before her, and beyond the gate, the path continued, beneath arches of cream scented roses to a point of vibrating, pulsing light.

Tilly spread her arms out beside her, and a new, turquoise winged dragonfly flew down the path, beneath the flowers, into the arms of the goddess.

 

Day 2

Jess held onto the letter with her fingertips for what seemed an hour before letting go and dropping it into the post box outside the pharmacy in town. Her heart beat in her ears, and her legs wobbled beneath her. She pulled up her hood against the fast falling rain drops.

“Jess!”

Across the road, Mari called to her from the doorway of the coffee shop.

Relief flooded over Jess like a warm blanket. The sweet, bitter fragrances of coffee and vanilla flooded her senses. She dropped into a chair by the open fire.

“Get that coat off and I’ll get your coffee,” said Mari, “Penny will be here in a bit. You posted the letter then?”

Jess twiddled a stray damp curl against her face, waiting for her large skinny latte. Mari and Penny were her best friends, but how could she explain the importance of the letter she’d posted without sounding mad?

 

Day 3

Annie zipped up her hooded anorak and stepped into her Wellington boots. Her flash light was powered up and her wicker basket empty and eager. Though it was Lammas eve, the Welsh rain hammered down on the hills and fields. The blessing was, it wasn’t cold rain. There was a hint of a tropical storm in the air.

The track down to the river was overhung with ferns and hawthorn. Stinging nettles jostled with thistles in the strengthening breeze, buffeting against Annie’s legs. Head down, she hurried towards the stands of hazel.

In the light of her torch, the glossy white fruit shone beneath the dripping wet, lime green leaves. Still clasped in their fluffy holders, Annie picked them in clusters, sending showers of raindrops cascading onto her coat with every tug. She found a tree stump to balance her torch on, so in its beam, she used two hands to collect her harvest.

For the past two years, she’d watched the hazel nuts growing on her trees and then disappearing overnight. She smiled to herself on this occasion, pleased she was at least able to share the trees abundance with the squirrels.

 

Day 4

After six hours of driving in heavy traffic, Charlie turned her little blue car off the motorway, and the heavens opened. Rain like stair rods threatened to pierce her windscreen, but on she drove, up hills with ninety degree bends, and down again. Traffic thinned the deeper she drove into the heart of Wales. All she could think of was her little cottage with the jasmine beside the front door, and a week of peace, just her and the countryside.

It wasn’t that she didn’t love Steve. Her heart panged every time she thought of a fortnight without him, but the Jethcoe project was important, she knew that. Even working late in the office most evenings, he wasn’t close to finishing, he’d said, so it made sense to leave him in London, and enjoy her holiday on her own.

The cottage was a gift from her Auntie Elaine, who’d used it as a writing retreat, but now preferred to spend half her year in Malta and the other half in her villa in Spain, and Charlie loved to spend time there whenever she could. She’d considered renting it out for about ten seconds, immediately hating the idea of strangers in what was her home.

The sign for the village was almost obliterated by the pounding raindrops merging on the windscreen. Charlie slowed down before turning off the main street, up towards the woodland and her cottage on a rough stone track. She barrowed stones from her ‘quarry’ to fill the holes each year, but the rain was biting deep into the surface making her drive a bumpy one.

Turning into her yard, she slammed on her brakes. There was a light upstairs, and one in the kitchen.

Rain soaked her hair as she crept from the barn, her bill hook balanced in her hand. She blinked it away, her heart dancing to a crazy beat, and flung open the kitchen door.

‘Surprise!’

Snuggled naked on the duvet in front of the open fire, Charlie recalled the scene she’d witnessed in the kitchen; every surface glowed with the light from  a tea light in a jar, the scent of josticks pervaded the air and Steve stood naked except for her bread apron, stirring supper on the Arga.

 

Day 5

How could she be lonely or bored when there was so much to do? Doris shook her head, attempting to dismiss the ache in her heart that threatened tears. Self-pity didn’t get the harvest in or the wood chopped. It was time for action, not wallowing in ‘what ifs’.

The rain on the roof of the wood barn was like a never ending barrage of gun fire, not the perfect day to pick and store vegetables, but with rain forecast for the rest of the week, today was the best day to begin.

 

Day 6

With the advice of her friends bouncing around in her head, Carys continued along the bumpy track. Although the gardens were private, being part of the National Gardens Scheme made them open to the public, so this first date was definitely in a ‘public place’, but whether there would be any members of the public at such a remote location on a drizzly, August day, she couldn’t be sure. Being new to the area, Henry hadn’t any better ideas of where to meet, so a walk around a soggy garden, hopefully followed by a hot drink to stave off pneumonia, was the best scenario she’d been able to come up with.

On she drove, fine mizzle coating her windscreen and dampening her spirits. A hand painted sign confirmed she was still driving on the correct path, turning up towards the skyline and the outline of a house and trees on a hill. A lady clad head to toe in waterproofs opened the gate for her and beckoned her to park in front of the house. There was no sign of any other cars. Carys glanced at her watch. It was ten past eleven. She was late, yet there was no sign of Henry. She checked her phone in her bag. No messages. She zipped it into her waterproof coat and climbed out of the car.

Melissa was a wonderful host. The garden tour, including a visit to the ‘cave’ and the ‘temple’ was relaxing and fun, despite the weather, and the home made Welsh cakes and fresh coffee, were welcome to stave off the chill. The sculptures she’d seen throughout the gardens inspired her, and excited her, confirming her love of everything upcycled and reused to be a healthy state of mind. She’d a list of plants to seek out when she got home, and half a dozen envelopes full of seeds to plant in her own garden.

Climbing into her car after bidding her host farewell, Carys’ phone vibrated in her pocket. She glanced at the screen and giggled to herself a little. Once through the gate and a final wave to Melissa, Carys allowed herself permission to laugh as hard as she wanted. She wouldn’t be meeting Henry, ever. He’d approached the road to the garden, but been worried the rough track might damage his car, so had driven home before messaging. What need had she, a woman who lived alone in a remote longhouse, surrounded by twenty acres of land, for a man who wouldn’t get his car dirty, let alone his hands?

 

They are all first draft, so be kind, but it fascinated me how some days, I struggled to write fast enough to get the words on paper, and yet other days, I could barely string a sentence together!

I’m happy to say that I’ve picked up my WIP again, and The Able Witch is coming together, the fifth book in the Lizzie Martin Witch Lit series. Book four, The Eloquent Witch, is written but I’m waiting to complete the series with book six, before publishing. If you haven’t begun the series yet, you can buy The Naked Witch, the first book in the Lizzie Martin series, here, for less than the price of a skinny latte https://www.amazon.co.uk/Naked-Witch-Wendy-Novel-Book-ebook/dp/B06W5D6GVV

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

for my friends across the pond.

Don’t forget to comment on the writing!