Tag Archives: 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?

 

Giving up is hard to do

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I’m giving up. I won’t be formatting my own books. Why is giving up so hard to do? Admitting one can’t do something is seen as a sign of failure by others but, for me, I’m giving up because it’s the right thing to do.

I’m a lucky girl. I live in an amazing place. DSC_013813083146_1733798136878675_2778952018034820534_nNow the weather is dryer, we’ve work to do on the house and byre. Last year, the farmer who bought the rest of the land originally attached to our house grubbed out the old hedges and laid new ones, dumping half the wood in our field. We’re working through that to keep us warm next winter. DSC_0155My partner chainsaws the wood and I follow behind, picking up the logs, stripping off the branches and loading them into the car. A drive from the field to our drying barn and then the wood is barrowed to its new home. Our beech tree had to be taken down last year and much of the wood became grassed over as we battled to get a roof on our house and save the byre. DSC_0157Stripping away the old grass and twigs for the bonfire and making piles for my partner to chainsaw has become a priority to stop brambles and nettles spreading across the field. Once clear and the old broken fencing dug out, this area can be mowed. DSC_0159We’ve old baths to make raised planters and an old conservatory to recycle into a greenhouse. On top of all this, I teach dance which I love and write the stories in my head that insist on being told and attempt to market them to readers to enjoy.

So is giving up and paying someone to format my books a sign of my failure? A month ago I read a blog post about what you need to do to be a successful writer and it made me angry. The gist of the post was that if you don’t give up your life, put aside the things you enjoy and spend every waking moment on social media, you don’t care about your writing.

12998745_1725523984372757_3935931874685187204_nMy life makes me the person I am, the person whose head is full of stories and who loves to inspire others with books and dance. Working on my house and land is a challenge and I’ve learned many new skills. So you won’t find me on social media all the time and I won’t be formatting my own books. I will be living my life, inspired by my environment and the people I meet and focussing on what I do best.

 

Running scared part 2

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It was a lovely morning on my riverbank… DSC_0263 The new lambs in the field opposite were waking up. I set up my camp, ready to begin. DSC_0046 I began reading the book, recommended to aid me in formatting my own books. DSC_0259 I decided to read from cover to cover, book marking useful pages, and then return when I begin the physical procedure but the book is not just about formatting. Part 1 Welcome to Self-Publishing and Part 2 Building an Online Platform were interesting but wordy. The author explains in the intro that she will talk about her own experience and I took that on board but 130 pages in, the wind is picking up, my coffee is finished and I’m just at Part3 Publishing your E-books….riverbank abandoned for the day.

I made some notes about my online platform and was happy to see I was addressing the majority of issues she covered as well as using Twitter and Facebook. I’m hoping the formatting part is less wordy and more direct…come back and find out how I get on.

 

Sharing my story

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I’d expected to be boosted when summer arrived this year but both the weather and the reality were a let down. A gale still blew through the top of my old farmhouse and my novels and novellas weren’t being bought for holiday reading. On top of that, as I now teach dance in a studio on Lampeter University campus, I’m surrounded by students and they were excitedly signing up for new courses.

I’ll admit to a grumpy tearful few days before I had a word with myself and decided to embark on a year of learning that would be appropriate to my homelife and financial situation.

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I was already revisiting short story writing with a writing group The Cwrtnewydd Scribblers, in the next village but needed a boost, a challenge for myself to explore different writing styles and genres. I mentioned this to one of my dancing ladies who had just signed up for an MA in creative writing (having already published her own short stories) and she introduced me to Duotrope. For £3 per month, they provide access to online and paper magazines requesting short stories as well as writing competitions. I decided to invest in myself and dedicate two days each week to writing, editing and submitting short stories.

Some magazines pay a little but most don’t and this bothered me at first. Would my stories be appreciated if they were given for free? What does that say about me as a writer if monetary gain is not important? It means that the reason I write, is to share my stories. Yes, I do want my work to have value and worth but if I share and readers enjoy my stories, that makes me happy. I hope that readers who enjoy a short story will look for more of my work.

My plan was to have ten short stories ‘out there’ at any one time. I started with stories already written and wasted a lot of time with ‘searches’ as they were not genre specific enough so I began writing for requested submissions. Duotrope send a weekly email with useful listings and this is what I work from.

It took two months to achieve my ten story goal and in days I was back to eight so I don’t worry about it any more. Some days I write three stories, other days just one. It doesn’t matter. Every story I write is honing my skills.

I’ve explored horror and fantasy these past months and love the stories produced. A few weeks ago, I attended an afternoon writing workshop about the role of myth, legends and fairy tales in story and began exploring new angles and new ideas in my own writing. As a writer of magical realism, stories about real people, real magic, gods and goddesses, I revisited stories I loved as a child as well as reading legends and myths I was not familiar with.

This week, I had my first short story accepted for publication. I’m looking forward to sharing many more.

In search of the sun

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Wales to 1 August 2014 005It’s been a wet, grey summer spattered with a few glorious days.

From the moment spring arrives and crocus takes her first breath, I use the momentum of new life to begin new projects and look forward to the sunshine. DSC_1234 I look forward to the prospect of hot, sunny days to fuel my passion and drive my intentions to fulfillment. Living with depression, this concept has served me well.

We had two hot days at the end of May 11053065_1610337169224773_4219450298485072431_n but Midsummer’s Day was a wash out when it should have been the peak of the sun. Four days of solid rain led to a sunny day for the Lampeter Food Festival 17005_1637467316511758_8560746038090504212_n

and the momentum of this fabulous dancing day carried me on to the Cardigan Bellydance Festival 11875606_10153165243553867_114847764_obut I’ve struggled.

We’ve made the most of every glimpse of sunshine, spending time on the riverbank and working on the land but I’ve found cold, grey mornings a real damper on motivation. On the days I’ve rallied, I’ve been writing and the third Standing Stone book, The Gathering, is finished and being edited. I’ve attempted to cook new food, create new recipes and put good food in to get the best energy out. It’s been hard work.

So now I need to get to December 21st, where the Holly King passes the crown to the Oak King and his strength uplifts and inspires me to look forward to spring.

At Mabon, 21st September, the day and night are of equal length all over our amazing planet. It is the time to think of and support our wonderful ‘world family’. Where people live in fear and without basic rights and needs, I shall support and give wherever I can.

As we wend our way to Samhein, a time of change and of choices and a time to look back as well as forward, I shall focus on the aspects of my life that make me smile. I shall surround myself with family and friends, indulge in dancing, sharing, cake and writing. I hope to bring the sun into my life and warm and brighten the days of others.

Wales to end June 2014 014

If you need help and inspiration at this time, Wendy Woo’s Year – A Pocketful of Smiles gives 100 ideas, used by me to enable me to live my life with depression, rather than suffer from it:

http://www.amazon.com/Wendy-Woos-Year-Pocketful-ebook/dp/B00AAVPXVU/ref=la_B007VZ1P06_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1354202723&sr=1-5http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wendy-Woos-Year-Pocketful-ebook/dp/B00AAVPXVU/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1354202865&sr=1-3

 

 

http://www.amazon.com/Wendy-Woos-Year-Pocketful-ebook/dp/B00AAVPXVU/ref=la_B007VZ1P06_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1354202723&sr=1-5 http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wendy-Woos-Year-Pocketful-ebook/dp/B00AAVPXVU/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1354202865&sr=1-3

The Standing Stone book series is inspired by the beauty of Wales, allowing the reader to connect with the forces and elements of nature. It’s easy to lose sight of where we came from, who we are and where we fit in this amazing world but the Standing Stone brings people together, to support each other and to look within themselves to the beauty and power that lies within.
http://www.amazon.com/Standing-Stone-Home-Christmas-ebook/dp/B00OCPBVV6/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1414328713&sr=1-1&keywords=wendy+steele
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Standing-Stone-Home-Christmas/dp/150272278X/ref=asap_B007VZ1P06_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1415177277&sr=1-1

Standing Stone Home For Christmas Cover drop shadow

Blog Swap Interview with Christoph Fischer

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Today, I’m swapping blogs with the fabulous author Christoph Fischer. We ‘met’ on Facebook a few years back on Wanda Hartzenberg’s group and we’ve supported each other ever since.  Christoph Fischer was born in Germany, near the Austrian border, as the son of a Sudeten-German father and a Bavarian mother. His historical fiction reflects his family background and I loved these particular books. Educated in Hamburg, he now lives in the UK with his partner and three labradoodles.

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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 impulsively. I start with an idea and a vague plan of where the book is meant to go but the stories and characters change and the outcome is usually different from my original idea. Additionally, I go back over the first draft many times and change some more.
For example, my latest book, The Healer, started as a character study and ended up as thriller.
2 Do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?

I need to walk the dogs first, or else they won’t let me write. I prefer to write at night or early mornings, when the world is quiet and peaceful. I drink a lot of water and camomile tea and prefer total silence.

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

1. I used to be scared of dogs, now I have three large Labradoodles.
2. I worked as a DJ in Brighton [cheesy pop ;-)].
3. The only thing I hate about writing is that I don’t get to spend enough time outdoors any more.
4. I would love to be a vegan, but it is a very unsocial thing to be.
5. I once made a burger for Samuel L. Jackson

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

want with you?

Ipod, Kindle, Running Shoes, Pen & Paper
5 On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts, The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng, Satan Hates Me by Robert Irwin, The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas, We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

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

Maybe not many people know my first choice: Vanessa Feltz. I know she can be difficult but she is highly intelligent and witty and I imagine dinner with her to be quite an experience. (For your American followers: Vanessa is a talk show host and radio presenter.)
To pick a more known celebrity: Hilary Clinton would be the other choice. Or Sarah Palin, for a laugh.

7 Your current writing projects?

“In Search of a Revolution” is in the final stages of proof reading. It is a historical novel about two friends set in Scandinavia between 1918 and 1950. I hope to release it around Easter.

I just completed the first draft for another thriller which was entitled “The Gambler”. Now there is a movie with Mark Wahlberg (also a potential dinner guest) with the same title and so I need to find a new title. I also want to release this new project as part of a charity Box Set with a few other authors. The Set will have an art theme, so I need to re-work the book anyway to make that angle more prominent. My basic story is about a man who rises from rags to riches overnight and needs to come to terms with his wealth and all that comes with it.
I’m also writing the sequel to my mental health drama “Conditions”.
8 Other published work and links….feel free to add as many as you like.

The Luck of the Weissensteiners (Three Nations Trilogy Book 1)
In the sleepy town of Bratislava in 1933 a romantic girl falls for a bookseller from Berlin. Greta Weissensteiner, daughter of a Jewish weaver, slowly settles in with the Winkelmeier clan just as the developments in Germany start to make waves in Europe and re-draws the visible and invisible borders. The political climate in the multifaceted cultural jigsaw puzzle of disintegrating Czechoslovakia becomes more complex and affects relations between the couple and the families. The story follows them through the war with its predictable and also its unexpected turns and events and the equally hard times after.
But this is no ordinary romance; in fact it is not a romance at all, but a powerful, often sad, Holocaust story. What makes The Luck of the Weissensteiners so extraordinary is the chance to consider the many different people who were never in concentration camps, never in the military, yet who nonetheless had their own indelible Holocaust experiences. This is a wide-ranging, historically accurate exploration of the connections between social location, personal integrity and, as the title says, luck.
On Amazon: http://smarturl.it/Weissensteiners

On Goodreads: http://bit.ly/12Rnup8
On Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1bua395
Trailer: http://studio.stupeflix.com/v/OtmyZh4Dmc/?autoplay=1
B&N http://ow.ly/Btvas

Sebastian (Three Nations Trilogy Book 2)
Sebastian is the story of a young man who has his leg amputated before World War I. When his father is drafted to the war it falls on to him to run the family grocery store in Vienna, to grow into his responsibilities, bear loss and uncertainty and hopefully find love.
Sebastian Schreiber, his extended family, their friends and the store employees experience the ‘golden days’ of pre-war Vienna and the timed of the war and the end of the Monarchy while trying to make a living and to preserve what they hold dear.
Fischer convincingly describes life in Vienna during the war, how it affected the people in an otherwise safe and prosperous location, the beginning of the end for the Monarchy, the arrival of modern thoughts and trends, the Viennese class system and the end of an era.
As in the first part of the trilogy, “The Luck of The Weissensteiners” we are confronted again with themes of identity, Nationality and borders. The step back in time made from Book 1 and the change of location from Slovakia to Austria enables the reader to see the parallels and the differences deliberately out of the sequential order. This helps to see one not as the consequence of the other, but to experience them as the momentary reality as it must have felt for the people at the time.
On Amazon: http://smarturl.it/TNTSeb

On Goodreads: http://ow.ly/pthHZ
On Facebook: http://ow.ly/pthNy
Trailer: http://studio.stupeflix.com/v/95jvSpHf5a/
B&N http://ow.ly/Btvbw

The Black Eagle Inn (Three Nations Trilogy Book 3)
The Black Eagle Inn is an old established Restaurant and Farm business in the sleepy Bavarian countryside outside of Heimkirchen. Childless Anna Hinterberger has fought hard to make it her own and keep it running through WWII. Religion and rivalry divide her family as one of her nephews, Markus has got her heart and another nephew, Lukas got her ear. Her husband Herbert is still missing and for the wider family life in post-war Germany also has some unexpected challenges in store.
Once again Fischer tells a family saga with war in the far background and weaves the political and religious into the personal. Being the third in the Three Nations Trilogy this book offers another perspective on war, its impact on people and the themes of nations and identity.
On Facebook: http://ow.ly/pAX3y
On Goodreads: http://ow.ly/pAX8G
On Amazon: http://smarturl.it/TBEI

Trailer: http://studio.stupeflix.com/v/mB2JZUuBaI/
Time To Let Go:
Time to Let Go is a contemporary family drama set in Britain.
Following a traumatic incident at work Stewardess Hanna Korhonen decides to take time off work and leaves her home in London to spend quality time with her elderly parents in rural England. There she finds that neither can she run away from her problems, nor does her family provide the easy getaway place that she has hoped for. Her mother suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and, while being confronted with the consequences of her issues at work, she and her entire family are forced to reassess their lives.
The book takes a close look at family dynamics and at human nature in a time of a crisis. Their challenges, individual and shared, take the Korhonens on a journey of self-discovery and redemption.
On Amazon: http://smarturl.it/TTLG
On Facebook: http://ow.ly/BtKtQ
On Goodreads: http://ow.ly/BtKs7
Conditions
When Charles and Tony’s mother dies the estranged brothers must struggle to pick up the pieces, particularly so given that one of them is mentally challenged and the other bitter about his place within the family.
The conflict is drawn out over materialistic issues, but there are other underlying problems which go to the heart of what it means to be part of a family which, in one way or another. has cast one aside.
Prejudice, misconceptions and the human condition in all forms feature in this contemporary drama revolving around a group of people who attend the subsequent funeral at the British South Coast.
Meet flamboyant gardener Charles, loner Simon, selfless psychic Elaine, narcissistic body-builder Edgar, Martha and her version of unconditional love and many others as they try to deal with the event and its aftermath.
On Facebook: http://ow.ly/C0ZqX
On Amazon: http://smarturl.it/CONDITIONSCFF
On Goodreads: http://ow.ly/C0Ziw
The Healer

healer cover for kindle

When advertising executive Erica Whittaker is diagnosed with terminal cancer, western medicine fails her. The only hope left for her to survive is controversial healer Arpan. She locates the man whose touch could heal her but finds he has retired from the limelight and refuses to treat her.  Erica, consumed by stage four pancreatic cancer, is desperate and desperate people are no longer logical nor are they willing to take no for an answer. Arpan has retired for good reasons, casting more than the shadow of a doubt over his abilities. So begins a journey that will challenge them both as the past threatens to catch up with him as much as with her.  Can he really heal her? Can she trust him with her life? And will they both achieve what they set out to do before running out of time?

Amazon: http://smarturl.it/thehealerthriller
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheHealerNovelbyChristophFischer?ref=hl
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23662030-the-healer
Book-likes: http://booklikes.com/the-healer-christoph-fischer/book,12975746
Rifflebooks: https://read.rifflebooks.com/books/388235

You can link up with Christoph Fischer here:
Website: http://www.christophfischerbooks.com/
Blog: http://writerchristophfischer.wordpress.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6590171.Christoph_Fischer
Amazon: http://ow.ly/BtveY
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CFFBooks
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/christophffisch/
Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/106213860775307052243
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=241333846
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WriterChristophFischer?ref=hl
All Facebook links:
http://www.facebook.com/WriterChristophFischer?ref=hl
http://www.facebook.com/TheLuckOfTheWeissensteiners?ref=hl
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sebastian/489427467776001?ref=hl
http://www.facebook.com/TheBlackEagleInn?ref=hl
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Time-To-Let-Go/257989361049799?ref=hl

I hope you’ve enjoyed meeting one of my favourite Indie authors.

A Tour Through Blogland and Synergy in our Blogging Community!

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I was delighted to be invited to take part in ‘A Tour Through Blogland’ also called ‘The Virtual Blog Tour Award’.

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My nominator is Wanda Hartzenberg. She extended the hand of friendship across the water to me when I first joined Facebook three years ago as a brand new Indie author. A prolific reader and reviewer, she supports Indie authors with a passion. Last year, she joined us with her first solo book Suicide Song, a poignant and deeply moving read.

Link up with Wanda here http://tattlet.blogspot.com/

The rules for this project:

1. Pass the tour on to up to four other bloggers.
2. Give them the rules and a specific Monday to post.
3. Answer 4 questions about your creative process which lets other bloggers and visitors know what inspires you to do what you do.
4. The last part of Tour Through Blogland is to write a one-time article which is to be posted on a Monday (the date supplied by your nominator). This article can be in the same post in which you answered the 4 questions. The article can be anything of your choosing.

The date supplied by my nominator was Monday 9th February 2015. And I have opted for these two dates for my nominee. Either Monday 16th February 2015 or 23rd February 2015.

 

My nominee is Hayley Addis http://www.haloquin.com/

http://www.aworldenchanted.com

Hayley is a writer and storyteller and this year is launching ‘The Goblin Circus’ at The Spirit of Brigid Conference in Cardiff. Inspired by the world around her, Hayley’s writing guides the reader to enchanted places, meeting strange and beautiful creatures along the way. Be sure to visit her websites and be inspired by this beautiful, magical lady.

Here are my answers to my four questions:

1- Why write? Why not sing, dance or figure skate?
I write because I always have and I can’t imagine not writing but I’m lucky enough to dance as well. When I was 10 years old, I returned from the Tutankhamen exhibition in London and wrote my first poem. Ever since, if a day out, a place or a person inspires me, I come home and write about it.

My first piece of published writing was in the Dancing Times, after attending my first belly dance workshops. I didn’t start dancing until I was forty and once I began teaching and dancing most days, the writing became a perfect way to rest my weary body. It gave me the opportunity to sit down and use my mind.

2- Do you have a musical play list or do you need to write in absolute silence? If you have a play list would we recognize any of the songs or artists on it?
I don’t have a play list and prefer to write in silence. One day I will have a straw bale writing room on our land, surrounded by nature. I do have inspiring music though and one of my favourites is the soundtrack to Baraka.

http://www.soundtrack.net/album/baraka/
3- Can you see a future for yourself in which writing forms no part of your day to day life?
No, I just can’t imagine it. My bag always contains my trusty fountain pen and a few notebooks. Being invited to the writer’s group in the next village has helped ensure that I write something new at least one day each week and even when I’m up to my elbows in lime mortar, mud or both, my mind is always following a story line or exploring a new idea.
4- Which author/s inspire you currently? I am not talking about some of the greats but departed. Authors alive today, which of them inspire you?
I am a Terry Pratchett fan and regularly reread his books. I aspire to construct beautiful sentences and create characters like his.

Since joining Wanda’s group and receiving a kindle from my children for a big birthday, I’ve read far more widely than I did before and I’ve discovered new authors on the way in different genres. Paula Lofting’s Sons of the Wolf sticks in my mind as a particular favourite and Christoph Fischer’s Luck of the Weissensteiners. Both informed me about parts of history that I knew little about while providing a cracking story. To Tame a Highland Earl by Tarah Scott was a fast paced riot of a read while Waiting for Harvey by Lydia North was my first venture into ghost stories and I loved it.

I’m daily inspired by the dedication of Indie authors. It’s so easy for anyone to publish a book now so it takes grit, determination and belief in ones story, to keep fighting and get ones books read.

And now for my article….
A Time to Shine

Now is the time. As wind, rain and snow batter the Northern Hemisphere, make plans for bright new beginnings in the Spring. Do it today. Do it now.

Like hamsters caught on a wheel, the daily routine keeps us existing and unless we jump off, we’ll never find that path or door that offers new opportunities.

My Mum loved her sayings and one of her favourites was ‘Never put off ’til tomorrow, what you can do today.’ She lived a busy and varied life, learning to drive at the age of fifty three, starring in church pantomimes and regularly thrashing me at tennis. Her adage is summed up with another, ‘Seize the day’ and following this good advice leads to fresh, new experiences.
For me, new experiences are about facing my fears. So often, fear of failure restricts us. Moving to Wales, from idea to inception, took over ten years, but we made it and it’s scary…but I love it!

Having no time is a much used excuse for not trying something new or following an idea you’ve wanted to explore. It took me three years in half hour sessions in the car waiting to pick up my children from school, to write my first novel. Working part time and teaching belly dance most evenings restricted my time further so I began my day earlier (much earlier!), had an hour power nap in the day and still had the energy to work, teach and write and be Mum to three children.

My Mum was an influence but the person who changed my life was my best friend from school. When Sally died at the age of forty, I promised to live my life to the full in memory of her. It shouldn’t have taken such a sad time to make me realise how precious every second of life is but from then on, I’m happy to say, I’ve truly lived. I am happy. I’m shining.

What will you do? Will you write the biography of an axolotl that’s been buzzing around in your head for years? Will you join a dance class, maybe give your tap shoes a dusting off? Join the local amateur dramatics group or take flying lessons? Volunteer at your local charity shop or foster a puppy?

As the cold earth stirs and the first buds prick the surface, it’s Time to Shine.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my blog and will visit again. Kettle’s always on, there’s cake in the tin but bring your slippers as it can be chilly in our little cottage in Wales.

If you would like to find out more about my books you can find me and all my books here:

http://www.amazon.com/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1365459567&sr=1-2-ent

My latest work, The Standing Stone – Home for Christmas, is a novella about three women linked across time by a standing stone.

http://www.amazon.com/Standing-Stone-Home-Christmas-ebook/dp/B00OCPBVV6/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1414328713&sr=1-1&keywords=wendy+steele

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Standing-Stone-Home-Christmas/dp/150272278X/ref=asap_B007VZ1P06_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1415177277&sr=1-1

 

 

Wendy Steele – Meet my Main Character Blog Hop

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Today I’m taking part in a blog hop, introducing you, the reader to main characters in novels.

Thank you Judith Arnopp for tagging me to take part. You can read about Judith’s main character here http://juditharnoppnovelist.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/meet-my-main-characters-judith-arnopp.html

For next week I am tagging Kate Murray http://kate0murray.wordpress.com/ to tell us about her main character.

 

 

What is the name of your main character?

There are three main characters in The Standing Stone – Home for Christmas, Rachel, Candy and Fern.

 

When and where is the story set?

Rachel has just arrived to begin her new life in Wales in the present day. Candy lives in The Dome on the Earth in the future. Fern lives in the west of England circa 2000BC.

 

What should we know about the main characters?

All three women have suffered trauma in their childhood and have lived their lives in compliance, ensuring those around them are happy. All three believe there is more to life than the existence they have.

 

What is the character’s goal?

Rachel wants to bring her dream to life, get closer to Marcus, her husband and establish roots in her chosen community in Wales. Candy wants answers. When she was a child, the Lessons on the Screen in the Learning Zone filled her with questions but asking once had led her into trouble. Whatever it takes, she needs to find her own answers. Fern knows Nia isn’t her mother but she has always been one, nurturing Fern and her sister and teaching them the ways of the village but the arrival of the Tall Folk has caused Fern to doubt Nia’s motives and she seeks the truth for herself.

 

What is screwing up your character’s life (the main conflict)?

Rachel’s husband Marcus extolled the virtues of their new life in the country for months before they moved to Wales. Since arriving, he has sullenly, sometimes angrily, refused to play his part in their plan for the future. Candy is a security guard, working a solitary night shift at guard station 23 to protect the Dome. There is no human contact within the Dome without the eyes and ears of a Supervisor close by. Candy cannot ask anybody for answers. Nia is the wise woman of the tribe. She heads the council and guides the villagers as they live their lives in harmony with the earth. How can Fern question her wisdom or judgement?

 

When is the book to be published?

The Standing Stone-Home for Christmas will be released on 6th November 2014.

Rachel arrives in Wales to begin a new life but will Marcus jeopardise their future together before it’s begun?

Candy knows the punishment for leaving Station 23 unguarded. Will she succeed in convincing Paul to obey the Lesson?

Fern loves her life in the village but when the Tall Folk arrive with metal working skills, will her peace be shattered forever?

Though distanced by time and space, three women find the Standing Stone and the teachings of the Great Mother, Binah.

Standing Stone Home For Christmas Cover drop shadow

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Standing-Stone-Home-Christmas-ebook/dp/B00OCPBVV6/ref=asap_B007VZ1P06_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1414326784&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/Standing-Stone-Home-Christmas-ebook/dp/B00OCPBVV6/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1414328713&sr=1-1&keywords=wendy+steele

You can find all my books via my Amazon Author Page
http://www.amazon.com/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1365459567&sr=1-2-ent

Or on Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6548666.Wendy_Steele

Follow me on Twitter for all that’s going on in the world of Wendy Woo

https://twitter.com/WendyWooauthor

 

 

 

Facing the fear

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I remember the day ‘Destiny of Angels’ was finished. Written, edited and the button pushed to publish, I shook like a leaf in a hurricane. I already had published work ‘out there’, dance articles and interviews in magazines, but this was my first published novel, a work of fiction and I was asking the public to read it. Then the paperback arrived.

575517_2923802914446_700076725_n The joy of holding my first book in my hand was wonderful and I bathed in a glow of contentment for days, until the fear began again as I attempted to market my book online. As my ‘baby’ was downloaded, I read the reviews with trepidation until I realised that readers were enjoying my story. I was inspired. ‘Wendy Woo’s Year – A Pocketful of Smiles’  soon followed and I published two volumes of short stories. With the addition of ‘Too Hot for Angels’, my first venture into erotica, I believed I was showing the world the kind of writer I was, adaptable, prolific and fearless, so I launched my big birthday celebration by giving away my books and waited for the 1800+ readers to respond….and nobody did.

Disappointed, disenchanted and defeated, my writing pad and pen sat idle for a while until the story of ‘Wrath of Angels’ refused to be suppressed and I wrote the second book in the Lilith Trilogy. Time for marketing my books became minimal as we sold our house and moved to Wales. Through those years, the fear of failure hung over me.  How could I call myself a writer when nobody read and reviewed my books? Inspired by my new surroundings, a new story began to form so I made a few notes, faced my fear and edited and published ‘Wrath of Angels’.  I returned to social media and was shocked but delighted to find good friends who remembered me and my books and helped me restart my writing career.

Wales to 21st June 2014 013

On Saturday, I faced my biggest fear of all. I stood behind my table, in a large hall surrounded by talented creative craft folk,  and when anyone approached, I stood up and said ‘Hello, I’m Wendy Steele and these are my books.’ Why is that so scary? Because I have a real fear of meeting new people. I remember the first night of my City and Guilds evening class on teaching adults, having to stand up, introduce myself and tell everyone why I was there and how the teacher had berated me ‘If you can’t stand up in front of us, how are you ever going to teach anyone?’

I believe life is about facing your fears, challenging your preconceptions, allowing  you to explore paths you may otherwise miss. I’ve been teaching dance for almost seven years now and I have a ‘trick’ that helps me…during the warm up, I find it difficult to make eye contact, even while I’m speaking but I promise myself that when the music finishes, I will have my ‘teacher head’ on and all will be well. Sometimes I get my words muddled at the beginning of a lesson but I’ve learned to laugh at myself and my ladies laugh with me.

At the festival on Saturday, I spoke to lots of people and I enjoyed it. Talking about my passions makes me happy and listening to other people and their hopes, likes and ideas is inspiring. I took a tin of my homemade gluten/dairy free chocolate cake, cut into tiny squares to give away and that proved an interesting talking point. I sold a few paperbacks and gave out my promo postcards (handmade with recycled paper, card and glue!), promoted ATS® dance, next week’s World Wide Flash Mob and the Lampeter World of Dance Festival the following week but, best of all, I spoke to a number of people who want to write. I started a list with contact details so I hope to run a ‘Getting Writing’ workshop before Christmas.

Facing the fear makes for a challenging but exciting life. My first book written in Wales,  ‘The Standing Stone – Home for Christmas’ will be published at the beginning of November and I’m not afraid, just excited.

Wales to 4th Oct 2014 026

You can find all my books on my Amazon author pages http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1365459567&sr=1-2-ent
http://www.amazon.com/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

The Witch is back! You can buy Wrath of Angels for just 99p/99c until 10th October.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wrath-Angels-Lilith-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B00KTH2E4Y

http://www.amazon.com/Wrath-Angels-Lilith-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B00KTH2E4Y/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1402305692&sr=1-7&keywords=wrath+of+angel

 

 

 

A Lifetime of Experience

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At the beginning of this year, I went under the needle for my first tattoo. Four years I had waited, making sure I chose wisely before embarking on this piece of permanent jewellery. I chose a triskele. For me it represents the three stages of womanhood, maiden, mother and crone so, it was appropriate to begin my journey in Wales as the sum of all of me and my lifetime of experience.

Wales 2014 020I didn’t enjoy the ‘maiden’ bit, to be honest. My childhood and early teens left me naive and vulnerable, insecure and bereft of confidence. My children became my passion and I was happy to lose myself in their lives, supporting them through their childhood while my personal relationships crashed and burned. Though I had always written, heartfelt poems for my eyes only and accounts of where I’d been, what I’d seen and how I felt about it, it wasn’t until I was forty and I attended a two day writing course about characterizarion, that I knew it was part of me, who I am. Around this time, I discovered dance and the two combined filled an enormous empty hole in my life.

For forty years I was living on this planet for other people. Whenever I gathered my strength, put myself forward and asked to be acknowledged, I was squashed, physically beaten and verbally abused. I tried to fit in, be the daughter, sister, friend, wife I was expected to be but wearing a mask every day while I sunk lower into depression left me exhausted and miserable.

Regrets are unnecessary baggage, while lessons learned make us the person we are today.  Pocketful of Smiles is a good indication of how far I’ve journeyed and how much I’ve learned about myself, my world and how I choose to interract with the people around me.  Having the benefit of experience makes me the person I am today, promoting my passions, dance and writing and living my life with respect for the earth and all that life upon it.

This person, the real me, attracts people to her that enhance her life, providing opportunities and ideas for the future. For example, the lovely Cwrtneydd Scribblers have welcomed me and we’re planning our table for the Christmas Fayre at Lampeter University and I’ve been invited by one of the Transition Lampeter organisers to have a table at a ‘Make It’ day, a day of creativity in the Victoria Hall, to sign and sell my books and talk about my writing. He suggested I might like to consider running workshops to help new writers.

And my first reaction to the writing group and ‘Make It’ day invites? I can’t do it. I’m not good enough. I don’t have enough experience. My second reaction recognises these are past doubts, worries and fears and sets the third thought into motion insisting, why not have a go? What’s the worst that can happen? If I go, I’ll meet new people and, if they don’t want to buy my books, they might like to join a dance class but if I don’t try and I don’t face my fears, I will never know and be the old me, living in fear again.

In March, I had my second tattoo, an eight pointed star, the symbol of Ishtar, goddess of love, war, fertility and sexuality. To me she represents womanhood and I’m proud to wear this symbol as myself, the earthly manifestation of the goddess and as part of the sisterhood of Tribal Unity.

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Don’t let your past life be a burden but an inspiration for what you can achieve today.  Surround yourself with people who inspire, love and respect you and live every moment with joy and excitement. Open your eyes to the beauty of the world, to positive people who want to make a difference and to the happiness that can be found in the simplest of tasks. Be a human ‘being’ and be your true self every day of your life.