Tag Archives: The Lizzie Martin Series

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

 

 

 

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!

 

How much did my Cat really need Saving?

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For regular viewers of my blog, you’ll remember my post singing the praises of the author help book ‘Save the Cat’. You can view the post here https://wendysteele.com/2018/11/19/are-you-ready-to-save-the-cat/

It’s a great little book of ‘beats’ to help you create a great score to hang your story words on, but how much did I really need this book? How much did I already know? How big a part should a book like this play when creating a novel?

Having already written the first draft of The Eloquent Witch, I applied the beats to it, and though some of the points weren’t in the exact order, I was there or there abouts, so the manuscript needed a good edit and tighten up…but I would have done this before publishing any way.

I’ve started the fifth book in the Lizzie Martin series, The Able Witch, twice now, using the Save the Cat beat sheet, and though the story is moving on, finally, and I can feel the magic happening in some of the scenes, I’ve not been feeling the joy. I put the book aside for a few weeks, and returned to it last week, as I had a break from teaching.

On the first day, I gave myself free rein to pick up the story and run…and I loved it! The next day I read through what I’d written, and started to get concerned I’d veered away from the sheet. I spent the day attempting to write my way back…it wasn’t a good writing day.

Day three, I spent a good few hours distracting myself with outdoor jobs (it was sunny!), digging and barrowing wood, even washing up, rather than picking up my WIP. When I did, the writing was forced.

Day four, I deleted what I’d written the day before and allowed myself to be caught up in domesticity.

Day five, Friday, I realised the problem…my characters and the story wanted to be written one way, while the beat sheet wanted me to write a different way. I was writing to fitting in what I needed to meet the requirements of the beat sheet, rather than how the characters wanted to run with the story. The struggle became a battle because I didn’t trust my own ability enough. I spent the weekend arguing with myself about it.

On Monday, I picked up my WIP, read the last chapter I’d written, made a few changes and wrote on with my hand written notes beside me. I’m not giving up on Save the Cat, but sticking to a pre-planned beat sheet of the whole book isn’t suiting me at all.

Sadly, my schedule this week isn’t going to leave much room for writing as I’m launching a new evening dance class in Aberystwyth on Thursday, as well as Tuesday and Wednesday lessons, and it’s Women’s International Day on Friday, but once I’ve established a new routine, I’ll let you know how the writing is going.

There’s no doubt Save the Cat has taught me a lot, but I’m beginning to see that my story writing/story telling, is as important as the structure.

 

 

Read The Naked Witch anywhere!

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You can read The Naked Witch on your holidays….maybe at Glastonbury Tor.

You can read The Naked Witch when you stop on your walks…maybe in a field in Wales somewhere.

You can read The Naked Witch on the riverbank…

Download your copy for FREE and begin your journey into the world of Lizzie Martin today

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

Witch Lit is Magical Writing!

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I had a lovely day at the National Botanic Garden of Wales on Saturday at their storytelling event, Plant & Plots, talking to the public about the inspirational, magical landscape of Wales, writing and Witch Lit.

Some people are confused when they see the word ‘witch’. In their minds, witch = demons/devils/black magic/sorcery/Satan/baby killers, not necessarily in that order. While many are interested in the idea of living in harmony with nature, giving back and celebrating the beauty and bounty of the planet and taking time to be present and appreciate all that life has to offer, some cannot see beyond the above list. Saturday was no exception; I stood and took the spitting abuse and personal remarks, as well as the advice that I should ‘look to my Bible’.

Brought up in a Christian household, I went to Sunday School and church and became a Sunday School teacher. I’ve always loved the stories of Jesus, full of kindness, compassion and common sense. As a pagan and a witch, I have no problem appreciating Jesus as a prophet before his time, in the same way Buddha was. I’ve read many books by the Dalai Lama and the inspirational Amma, Mata Amritanandamayi, has my vote as one of the most important and influential women of this time.

As a witch, I follow no organised religion, only a path of love, kindness and compassion towards the planet and all those who live on her.

That’s what I want to inspire with my books. The Lizzie Martin series is funny, the stories are compelling and Lizzie uses magic in her every day life to help her with the stresses many of us face. She is a strong woman. She likes men, but doesn’t need a man to define her.

Witch Lit is magical writing of every kind; prose, poetry and song. Join the #witchlitrevolution and bring a little magic into every day of your life.