Category Archives: my writing

What do YOU want from a novel?

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I gave up putting up the book I was reading on Goodreads…because so many were so bad, I couldn’t finish them. Each and every one had been recommended by glowing reviews yet they didn’t grab me or keep me wanting to read them. I know what I want to read, my latest review ‘Soul Doubt’ by D Hart St Martin, proves that but maybe other readers are looking for something different?

I want…believable, real, engaging characters

Identifying with the characters is paramount in my reading. I don’t have to like them all, but they need to be ‘real’. I’m a visual reader so if I can’t picture the characters acting out the scenes in the book, you’ve lost me already.

I want…a story that holds my attention

Moving on from the characters, it’s the story that holds me and compels me to read on. It can be happy, sad, thrilling, exciting or inspiring but I need to believe that the story is important. For me, the story isn’t the plot; it’s what the book is really about.

I want…a well-crafted book

I love words. I love them used to create a memorable sentence. I don’t mind background or words that move the reader from scene to scene but I want words used thoughtfully, provocatively and beautifully.

I want…a well-edited book

I’m not a stickler for this but if the formatting is heywire, there are additional words, words spelled incorrectly or if a book feels like a first draft, you’ll lose me after a couple of chapters. I may read on if the story is compelling but rarely to the end.

I want…to be left wanting more

I love reading a book that I enjoy so much that I can’t wait to read another by the author. We all have our favourite authors, those books we devour the moment they are released and many readers enjoy books from a series, each book a whole story in its own right while the next moves the characters and story on further.

I want…a story to dwell in

For me, all books are magic, transporting the reader to another time or place, away from our own reality. Total immersion is what I seek. I want to be clinging to the side of a Viking ship or taking my first space walk to fix a problem with the solar panels. I want to sun myself on a beach in Australia or battle the elements, climbing to a mountain summit. I want to ride a train to Budapest or a camel in the desert. I want to dance at a ball in my high necked gown or hide in a cave from a demon.

What do YOU want from a novel?

 

From Samhain to Spring Equinox

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Living my life by the Sacred Wheel of the Year, my new year began after Samhain with dance workshops and performances and meeting up with an old friend. There’s been book fairs and fairytale fairs, my long awaited tattoos and happy family gatherings in our farmhouse in Wales.

I write every day but in January I began editing my first Witch Lit novel and writing dance workshops. Learning new recipes to enhance my plant based diet has been both exciting and challenging. I’ve made new friends, meeting and supporting authors and welcoming new ladies to my dance classes. Tribal Unity Wales hosted a wee hafla for S.H.A.R.P. Swansea Humanitarian Aid Response project and raised £170 and gathered boxes of clothing donations.

I’ve cut back brambles and nettles, clearing my land to allow the plants and my apple trees to breathe.

My second Witch Lit book is written in first draft and the spring flowers are brightening up my hill top.

It’s been a long, cold, wet start to the year but it’s all been leading to today, the launch of The Naked Witch, a Lizzie Martin story, dedicated to my amazing daughter, Jasmine and written for all the strong, beautiful and amazing women out there. Bright Spring blessings to you all xx

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-Steele/dp/1543165044/ref

My name is Lizzie Martin and I’m a witch

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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.

FAQs about The Naked Witch

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The Naked Witch is available for pre-order now! https://www.amazon.com/Naked-Witch-Wendy-Novel-Book-ebook/dp/B06W5D6GVV/ref

or for my UK readers https://www.amazon.co.uk/Naked-Witch-Wendy-Steele/dp/1543165044/ref

Not sure if The Naked Witch is your kind of book? Here are some of the FAQs about the book to help you decide…

Do I need to be a witch or a pagan to enjoy your book?

Absolutely not! The Naked Witch is a contemporary read for all women everywhere…that’s not to say men won’t enjoy it but ladies, I wrote it for you.

What or who inspired you to write it?

My daughter, Jasmine, to whom the book is dedicated. Lizzie Martin is a modern woman, juggling full time work, a teenage daughter and the usual gambit of relationships and The Naked Witch is her story but her relationship with her daughter is her inspiration too.

My previous novels have either focussed on the witches Qabalah, Destiny of Angels and Wrath of Angels, or the energetic links of the land, The Standing Stone book series. I wanted to write a book that all women could identify with, about a woman with dreams and aspirations, faced to conform in a modern world.

Tell me more about this new genre, Witch Lit.

The Naked Witch fits into the genre magical realism…but without the fantasy elements. Witch Lit sums up the book perfectly…it is a heroine-centred narrative focussing on the trials and tribulations of the individual protagonist, Lizzie Martin. She lives in the modern world and the book is peppered with a smattering of light heartedness and humour.

Is it a romance, mystery or thriller?

That’s the beauty of Witch Lit, it encompasses all three. Lizzie’s life doesn’t revolve around dependence on men but she’s not averse to a tight buttock or chiselled jaw. Matt is the lead singer of a band while Richard is a widower, seeking to build a new life for himself and his son.

The mystery is in Lizzie’s search for the truth about her father’s death and when she attends a beach party in Spain, she enters an underground world of money, deceit and intrigue.

If I enjoy it, will there be any more Witch Lit books and where will I find them?

Oh yes! The sequel to The Naked Witch is already penned in first draft and entitled, The Orphan Witch. All my books are available via my Amazon author page http://www.amazon.com/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref

or for UK readers http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref

 

I hope I’ve answered some of your questions. Press on one of the top links to pre-order your copy for a compelling read you won’t want to put down.

 

 

The Naked Witch is here!

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Thank you for waiting for my first Witch Lit novel! Get ready to immerse yourself in Lizzie Martin’s world but why squirrels, you ask? Let’s ask Lizzie…. “It’s no big deal. I like squirrels. They’re surprisingly good company.”

Here’s the synopsis for The Naked Witch…

Lizzie Martin lives in Romford with her fourteen year old daughter, Rowan. She enjoys her job as a receptionist and typist at an old established, family run company. She clothes herself from charity shops in vibrant, joyful colours with matching headbands she makes herself. Colour is Lizzie’s armour and she uses it to hold at bay the emotional angst of her ex-husband, Josh, whose girlfriend is barely out of her teens, her mother who has the sensitivity of a crocodile, and the big bad world from which she tries to protect her daughter.

But today Edward Brown – her new boss – has asked Lizzie to ‘bare all’, and become more corporate. For Lizzie, swapping paisley for pin stripe is like asking a parrot to wear pea hen.

Meanwhile, as Edward Brown retakes his position as head of the law firm, Lizzie has to choose between her job and her integrity, cope with an unexpected stay in hospital, continue seeking the truth about her father’s death and juggle two new men in her life.

There is hope though.

At the bottom of the garden is a little wooden shed that Lizzie calls Sanctuary. Within its warm and welcoming walls, Lizzie surrounds herself with magic…

Pre-order your copy now!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06W5D6GVV/ref

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06W5D6GVV/ref

 

Sneeky peek – Wrath of Angels

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wrath-of-angels-cover-proof-v1 Sometimes the first few pages aren’t enough so here, for your enjoyment is a little more of Wrath of Angels…

As a full moon filled the night sky, Angel walked down the
stone steps to the basement of her house with the basket for
her path working on her arm. Once below she lit the wall
sconces and the braziers on either side of the altar. Light and
warmth seeped into the stone walls. A single red rose lay on a
seven pointed star on the altar surrounded by thyme,
feverfew, yarrow and verbena.

She wore an amber shift belted with a cord of olive green
and gold, a green cloak and at her throat hung an emerald. As
Thoth greeted her on the astral plane, promising to protect
her, she stood upon the Path, a rose in one hand and a lantern
in the other. Her heart began to beat fiercely and the rose in
her hand vibrated as she walked into a courtyard surrounded
by cool, white buildings and seated around the well within sat
female love deities. Freyja sat with Venus, their fair hair
glistening in the sun while Rhiannon, her horse tethered to
one side, spoke with Ishtar. They laughed together as Angel
approached. The maiden Cerridwen caught Angel’s eye and
smiled at her and as Angel smiled back, she stood naked
before the beautiful naked women.

Angel felt no embarrassment. A vibration began in her
groin as if something was awakening in the root of her being
and as the sensation climbed up her body, she felt aroused and
uplifted by the beauty of those around her. Each woman came
forward and embraced her and then held a hand as a circle
was formed. Into the middle, Angel lay the rose and the
lantern before taking her place in the circle.

The rose sparkled and the lantern began to glow until a
glistening golden ball spun hovering in the air before them.
The sphere darkened and then stars appeared, some singly
and some in clusters until the ball glistened and shone. Ishtar
stepped forward, reaching into the ball and plucking a web of
twinkling stars which, with skilful hands she fashioned into a
girdle. Turning to Angel, Ishtar wound the stars around her.
Never had Angel felt so complete nor so content as she did in
such lovely company.

The ball spun again and from it flew a white dove which
landed on the outstretched palm of Venus. She walked
forward and offered the bird to Angel who took it on her
finger. She spoke one word to it as she stroked its milky white
head. Over and over she spoke the word, the word that
encapsulated love in just two syllables. Aidan. She lifted her
hand to the sky and the dove flew away.

The women watched the sphere as colours and images
flashed across its surface. Forests, mountains, deserts,
meadows and plains were a backdrop to every living creature
that roamed the earth and Rhiannon stepped forward and
plucked a lynx from its tree top resting place. She brought her
before Angel and the lynx lay down. She observed the women
with her luminescent reflective eyes and when Angel looked
at her, she saw mirrored back, her own perceptions and
understanding. She knew from then on, to trust her female
intuition. The lynx stood before Angel, shut it’s eyes and
bowed before vanishing.

As the sphere spun again, fields of glowing corn, wheat
and barley showed on the surface and the lilting tunes of a
flute began to play. As the music grew, accompanied by drum
and violin, the women began to walk around the circle while
Freya could wait no longer and took Angel’s hands and they
danced. Angel’s feet reflected the notes her ears heard and she
began to feel with her whole being. Her body swayed and
skipped as all the women joined in, a joyous dance borne
from the music. There were no thoughts of why or how but a
communal joining within the beauty of the tune. As the music
faded away, the flute the last to leave, the women, bright eyed
and breathless, took their places.

As Cerridwen approached the spinning ball it became her
cauldron and from it rose the number seven. She went to
Angel, took her hand and Angel understood. She saw the
Seven of Wands, appreciating the struggle of one against six
but saw too the dominance and the forth coming victory of
the one. She saw the Seven of Swords and understood the
Occult Intelligence, the hidden force behind the action, the
unqualified force without will. As she saw the seven chalices
of the Seven of Cups, she wondered at the power of creativity
within the Sephirah Netzach but also understood that with so
much energy and so many possibilities it was difficult to
know which choices are real and which are illusory. She saw
the Seven of Pentacles and the potential of a fruitful harvest
and understood the need for action to bring in the abundant
crop before it spoiled. As these thoughts entered and worked
in her mind, Angel lifted her hands, as did the others and a
waterfall of love and beauty washed over them as the sky
filled with pure white light.

Back in the basement, Angel thanked and bid farewell to
her guests as her mind pondered the force and beauty of
Netzach and the form and logic of Hod.

You can buy Wrath of Angels here … https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wrath-Angels-Lilith-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B00KTH2E4Y/ref

https://www.amazon.com/Wrath-Angels-Lilith-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B00KTH2E4Y/ref

 

You can find all my books on my author page here…https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref

https://www.amazon.com/Wrath-Angels-Lilith-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B00KTH2E4Y/ref

 

Watch out for my new novel, The Naked Witch, available for pre-order from tomorrow!

 

The Standing Stone – Home for Christmas

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Home for Christmas is the first book in the Standing Stone series, linking together Rachel, Candy and Fern. Each woman lives there own life, though they share the same earth, just in a different time and space.

This morning, I’m sharing an extract from Home for Christmas, the first time all three women meet.

Though the feeling only lasted moments, Rachel likened it to being trapped inside a raindrop, a myriad of colours swirling with cool wet air, while the drop joined with others and spun and swirled like eddies in a pond. She landed on the grass with a bump and lay back, breathing heavily before sitting up.

To her left lay a small woman in a shiny metallic suit, her long auburn hair matted across her face. Rachel crawled over as the woman stirred but before she reached her, a scream from behind her ran down her spine. Another young woman, wearing scraps of fur and bound cloth, knelt at the stone and stared in horror at the sky above her.

Rachel crawled over to her, discarding her coat. The air was warm though no sun shone.  Above them, the sky gleamed cerulean but as Rachel scrambled up off her knees, beyond the green hilly mound was pure white nothingness. She put her arm around the young woman’s shoulders, her screams having lessened to shaky, gulping sobs.

“It’s okay,” she said, gently, “You’re okay. I’m Rachel,” she added.

“F-F-Fern,” said Fern, wiping her nose with the back of her hand. Looking over Rachel’s shoulder her eyes widened and she pointed, “Who…she?”

Candy stood in a dark blue jumpsuit, her bio suit discarded on the grass, refastening her hair band and knotting back her auburn dreads.

She smiled at the other women as she walked over. “I’m Candy,” she said, “And I think I’ve just escaped from the Dome.”

Begin your journey to the Standing Stone today!

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

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Standing-Stone-Home-Christmas/dp/150272278X/ref

 

A Poem for Every Night of the Year

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One of my clever sons bought me this book for Christmas. I flicked through the index. I found a list of memories and new poems to explore.

8th January The more it SNOWS (tiddley-pom) – A.A. Milne

The idea for this poem is Winnie the Pooh’s, waiting for piglet to answer the door. My affection for Pooh and his friends is unwaning, the feel and smell of the faded blue and white paperbacks will stay with me forever. Pooh and Piglet and friends kept me company through much of my childhood.

5th February On the Ning Nag Nong – Spike Milligan

Wonderful nonsense poem.

12th March from The Lady of Shalott – Alfred, Lord Tennyson

‘On either side the river lie, Long fields of barley and of rye…’ Transports you away to another world.

1st April Jabberwocky – Lewis Carroll

So good, I remembered the first verse by heart.

22 May Jim, who Ran away from his Nurse and was Eaten by a Lion – Hilaire Belloc

I loved these poems as a child, remember most of ‘Matilda’ but forgot how good this one was!

25th June Simbleshanks: The Railway Cat – T S Eliot

I learned ‘McCavity’ at school so this is a new discovery for me.

 

Join me later in the year for another list of happy poetic memories.

Author. Wise woman. Goddess

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For most people, when the year date changes a new year begins. They look forward to new beginnings, better luck and a change for the better.

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My new year began at the winter solstice and I welcomed in the light. Every day gets a tiny bit longer even though the wintry weather is only just taking hold and I look forward to waking to that light and the rebirth of spring.

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The title of this blog is the title of my website but both could be replaced by ‘Me’. ‘Author’ is the easy bit. Under ‘Wise woman’ is my spirituality, teaching dance and healing but all those descriptions would fit into the ‘Goddess’ side as well. ‘Goddess’ is my personal journey, my family and my partner.

My plans are underway for the first two terms of teaching dance this year, including three workshops for my ladies, structuring my lessons to give them the best tuition and support I can. We’re going to dance more and perform less, bringing dancing to drums into our lessons and music that inspires.

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Collaboration has begun with my good friend, Peter Jones (writer, speaker, actor), to publish my first WitchLit novel ‘The Naked Witch’ and I’m excited *happy dance* Work on the next book ‘The Orphan Witch’ is underway.

Kind folk have been sharing my Youtube channel, Phoenix and the Dragon, also the name of my publishing company, where I read my WitchLit short stories and I’m thrilled. Being able to deliver my stories through such a powerful medium is a privilege and I’m looking forward to telling more stories as the seasons change on our Welsh riverbank.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw3ee9CuNdek9ZC1Im8I_iA

The announcement of the Literature of Wales bursary is in February. If successful, my work will focus on writing the third book in the Lilith Trilogy ‘Angel and Demons’. (Now you know why I’ve needed to make plans early!)

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The past year has been hard work but memorable. Author, wise woman and goddess finally merged together in my mind, showering me with ideas and possibilities. I’ve surprised myself in many ways. Out of these surprises has come confidence but also fear so this year, to redress the balance, the goddess will be embraced. My personal spiritual journey will come higher up the priorities.

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And I started 2017 with a sale on my pixie coats! My dad worked for Horne Brothers, Men’s Outfitting. He could tell your collar size just by looking at you. He always maintained that Horne Brothers had a proper sale, discounting the stock in the shop while other, less creditable sellers in his opinion, brought it ‘rubbish’ for their sales. ALL pixie coats, short or long length, are on sale at £25 with free postage to the UK. Dad would have called it a proper sale.

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I wish you all Bright Blessings for the coming year xx  Share the love and spread warmheartedness wherever you are xx

 

 

Tales from Pan’s Grotto

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wales-2014-058This past year, I’ve been writing and submitting short stories. Having had over a quarter of them published online and in anthologies, I decided to start my own Youtube channel, Phoenix and the Dragon, and read to you the WitchLit stories emerging from my pen right now. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw3ee9CuNdek9ZC1Im8I_iA

I began at Samhain with a slightly longer story, Granny Hickson’s Blessings https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjBDk9eogZQ

This week’s story is called Lucky and is perfect for a tea break viewing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNRDQMuBv3U

If you enjoy the stories, please like, share and subscribe to the channel.

Bright Blessings xx