Saturday, November 22, 2014

Justine's Journal #14

52 Weeks 500 Words

This is how it began: Justine (not her real name) decided to write 500 words (or as near as), anything goes, per week for 52 weeks. She would then submit it for anonymous posting, via me, her friend. Perhaps a pattern will emerge from her words, but at this stage it’s more an experiment I have agreed to share in. I’ll attempt to draw conclusions at the end of this. Stay tuned if this resonates with you.

Week 14

I admit, I’ve come to use this weekly post as a means to decipher my state of mind over the days past since the last one. Yes, that was and is the point, but the way I do it has changed.

Initially, when we started this, I would have pen and paper handy and jot notes as I went, or I would add to a document already open on my computer. A rolling commentary of days, so to speak, the issues, ideas and thoughts that came to mind to be recorded as they happened.

Life, however, blunts the edges. Eventually I found myself hurriedly sitting to quickly compose a post for submission, even when I didn’t feel like doing so, because a promise after all is a promise. In a strange way, that very act of writing hurriedly actually served to focus my thoughts, and therefore the exercise is not without merit. Still, the attention I thought to give to this went right out of the proverbial door – life got in the way.

What started out as a desire to discover who I am became all too quickly merely a matter of keeping a promise. I think this happened after the situation with that idiot who smashed into my car – I could not write because of the state I was in … and then wrote something quickly just to get it off my chest, and that set the tone. Are we not creatures of habit?

For your information, I am now composing this before due date. This is a conscious decision to see if doing so changes the manner in which I share thoughts. I will step away from this just now and return to it before I send it on.

If there is a marked difference, tell me!

Right, at this point I took a breath and searched my store of thoughts, to find the best issue to address here. Guess what came up first?

My absolute disenchantment with the ‘season to be jolly’. Christmas is coming and I want to hide away, yes, but I really don’t want to discuss it yet. In a way I’m hoping something good will happen to change my mind and therefore I must not at this point step on the likelihood by airing all those negative thoughts. Expect an update closer to the days in question!

I know this weekly update is from a woman’s perspective … how else? I do wonder, however, if men read it, and if they are able to use points made to further their understanding of how women think. Sometimes I wish I could read a weekly post from a man not afraid to air his feelings, in order to understand how men think. This would promote better understanding between the sexes, not so? On the other hand, let us be objective here. This journal is one woman’s mind set and doesn’t describe all of us, therefore one man’s entries cannot ever explain how all men think and act. We would have to collate multiple posts from different times and different countries, seasons, income groups and so forth, and that is a task I don’t relish undertaking.

For now, therefore, I’ll stick to this and see what comes up.'

(It seems to me, I thought more for this post, because there was no rush to write. It also feels as if this post is unfinished, as if there is more to say this week. A sign, I believe, of the processors in my brain kicking in when I take my time. Right?)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Page Popularity

So I'm moving around this blog, checking things, adding stuff and so forth, and thought I'd share popularity of the pages found here, based on number of views.

1. The Infinity Mantle - it's not the oldest page, but it is my debut novel and I'm well pleased it's at number one!

2. Book Reviews - glad you all like it enough to slot it in at number two. I aim to link the covers to the actual reviews soon, for easier navigation.

3. The Kinfire Tree - book two and perhaps the most controversial of the four Arcana books, for it deals somewhat with the subject reincarnation.

4. Interviews - the page contains all links to interviews Writing World has posted. Soon I'll update it with interviews others have posted elsewhere after chatting to this author ;)

5. The Tinsal Deck - my first standalone novel about tarot cards and revenge. I'm very proud of this work, for it took me into an entirely different way of writing.

6. The Drowned Throne - Arcana's book three, where all hell breaks loose upon Valaris.

7. Thomas Henson - first short story, and I'm actually amazed to see it sort of in the middle of the popularity stakes!

8. Latticework - a collection of short stories - read at your peril!

9. The Dragon Circle - pity this one doesn't get as much attention, seeing as it ends the Arcana saga and contains much emotion and ties up many loose ends. This one was hardest to write, for it isn't easy to release a story, to let go.

10. The Kallanon Scales - first Reaume book, and as it's still quite new, I can't expect it to match to Infinity (yet)!

11. Buy here - Payhip for my two self-pubbed works. I may remove it, it feels shallow to have it up there ;)

12. LORE Gallery - created today, and already garnering attention - thank you!

13. Justine's Journal - a brave lady, and thank you for reading

14. The Nemisin Star - Reaume's second volume, VERY new!

15. LORE Maps - also created today and already has a few hits - again, thank you!

Gallery Page!

Hi, all! Thought I'd nudge you to click on 'LORE Gallery' overhead. Many of the images used to showcase the LORE series are now there, along with links to albums on Facebook. I'm still combing through images on my computer and will update the page when I find more :)

Also squizz at the Maps section!

Your Elf Name

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Justine's Journal #13

500 Words 52 Weeks

This is how it began: Justine (not her real name) decided to write 500 words (or as near as), anything goes, per week for 52 weeks. She would then submit it for anonymous posting, via me, her friend. Perhaps a pattern will emerge from her words, but at this stage it’s more an experiment I have agreed to share in. I’ll attempt to draw conclusions at the end of this. Stay tuned if this resonates with you.

Week 13

'Lucky number 13? Or as unlucky as we expect?

The latter, I’m afraid.

This week, though, it isn't about my luck, it’s about someone close to me. This week I have seen her run a gamut of emotions, from severe depression to absolute highs. And no, there were no drugs or drink involved, and no medication of the prescription kind either. It was purely emotional and the cause was the relationships between family members.

I know she won’t appreciate me airing any of it even in this anonymous mode, and thus I will respect that (she reads these journal entries). I intend to rather ask a question, of her, of myself, and of you.

Why is it so hard to be objective when it comes to relationships?

As thinking, breathing sentience, we should surely be capable of seeing beyond the restrictions of emotion, look into the other person’s heart (or soul) and just for a moment see with their feelings, and thus understand their viewpoint. I believe if we are able to acknowledge how another regards a situation, we will learn to be more objective. There are always two sides (at least) to a story, for no one ever sees it in quite the same manner, and if we can teach ourselves to see those multiple viewpoints, even if we are personally involved in the developing situation, I believe much of the contrariness in relationships will form by the wayside. For we will realise how feelings colour everything, and as we acknowledge the other’s colouring of the situation, we are better able to deal with it.

Maybe it’s not quite objectivity, but it’s certainly understanding, and understanding is also compassion and compassion leads to the willingness to make amends, to fix a situation with a glad heart.

My friend, I’ll stop it here, but I hope you are able to see all sides in order to find understanding, and I hope he will do so as well, for then you may talk and find compassion for each other and the situation will resolve itself without you even having to try.

I’m holding thumbs for you.'

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Justine's Journal #12

52 Weeks 500 Words

This is how it began: Justine (not her real name) decided to write 500 words (or as near as), anything goes, per week for 52 weeks. She would then submit it for anonymous posting, via me, her friend. Perhaps a pattern will emerge from her words, but at this stage it’s more an experiment I have agreed to share in. I’ll attempt to draw conclusions at the end of this. Stay tuned if this resonates with you.

Week 12

Well, as I sit here to pen my weekly unload (virtually, of course!), I find myself giving thought to family dynamics. I do this mostly because a friend was in tears to me earlier, having had a run-in with her son.

I have no family. I am actually alone in the world. My parents have passed on, and I have no children. While I am still ‘young’ enough to do so, I don’t think it will come to pass, and this is largely based on my own selfishness … or a feeling of desperation. I can barely afford to keep myself, how can I do even think of being responsible for a child? I guess if I meet a man able to take care of me and our child, or children, that might change, but I don’t see it happening. I do not trust easily and I may sabotage most relationships to avoid that kind of responsibility. I know this about myself. I admit it.

However, from conversations and eye-witnessing, I realise families come with inherent issues. Maybe it’s genetics, for it seems to me often there are personalities very much alike in one microcosm unit. For instance, father and son. They may be so alike, without ever admitting it to each other, that they are at constant loggerheads. While mom ends up in the background wondering just what the hell she did wrong. Or sometimes right. Mother and daughter may also be so similar that they end up arch enemies because they do not see themselves in each other.

Having viewed multiple family relationships, I have come to this conclusion. We are all too selfish to admit we are wrong, and this leads to those family issues that never seem to be resolved. For instance, a friend just phoned me earlier and told me she has just realised that her oldest son is a younger version of his father, and that means he is as judgemental as they come. She was in tears, and all I could say to her was that they are both grown men and they have to accept responsibility for themselves. As much as it may hurt her, it isn’t her duty to fix them. All she can do is guide and offer advice…when they are in a frame of mind to listen.

Having heard this latest snippet of agony, I am more convinced than ever that my decision to date has been the right one. I hope, though, I don’t die lonely and bitter, because I didn’t see the bigger picture.

 The one about immortality through the generations. The one about love despite all the issues. Does love make the world go round? I hope so, for my friend’s sake.'

"These aren't characters on a page anymore ..."

Thank you, Poppet!

From a fan and friend - The Nemisin Star

Don't you love it when this happens? My book in another's hands! Thank you, Monique!


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Writer's Wednesday: Chatting to Wendy Steele

Today we are fortunate enough to chat with Wendy Steele, the lady from Wales!

Wendy Steele lives on a hillside in Wales. She can see the mountains from a place on her land where one day, she'll build a straw bale writing room.

She worked in the City, BC (Before Children) but since 1999 has indulged her creative side, training in natural therapies, belly dance and writing. Publication of dance articles led to writing courses, and summer school, producing her first novel 'Destiny of Angels - First book in the Lilith Trilogy.'

In 2012 she published her first non-fiction title ' Wendy Woo's Year - A Pocketful of Smiles', as well as two short story anthologies and an erotic accompaniment to the Lilith Trilogy 'Too Hot for Angels'. In June 2014, the second book in the Lilith Trilogy, Wrath of Angels hit the bookshelves and in November 2014, The Standing Stone – Home for Christmas was published, her first book inspired by her life in the Welsh countryside.

Wendy lives with her partner, Mike, and four cats and spends her days renovating her house, clearing her land and, when time and weather allows, sitting on her riverbank, breathing in the beauty of nature.

Read more about Wendy here!

Welcome Wendy!

  1. What sparked your interest in writing? Your proverbial light-bulb moment?
Writing about my experiences has been normal for me for as long as I can remember. Committing my experiences to paper enforces a memory, sometimes reminding me of a special moment, painting a picture of the world from my perspective.

I wrote many stories as a child, seemingly from pure imagination but, looking back, the memory of a person or place definitely sparked my need to write.

Stories have always been my friends, there for me on my shelf, or now on my kindle, whenever I feel alone and need a boost so, what better job could there be that allows me to share my stories with others and be a friend on someone else's book shelf.
  1. Which genre are you most comfortable writing in?
I began writing women's fiction but this soon developed into paranormal occult fiction, as I have a love of magic and the witches Qabalah. My most recent work, The Standing Stone – Home for Christmas, inspired by my first months in Wales, has broadened my writing horizons further as this book is set in the present, past and future. I adored writing about the Bronze Age and taking my first steps into science fiction.

  1. Would you say you draw most often from your own knowledge base when writing or do you research for fresh material?
Even if I'm using my own knowledge, I research every book I write to some extent.

  1. Tell us a bit about your work. How, for instance, do you choose your titles?
Most of my writing begins with 'what if?' and I allow the ideas to bounce around in my head for many months before I commit even notes to paper. My book titles are chosen from a word or phrase that is the over riding key to what the book is about. If I'm choosing a book from the shelf, I like to be told what I will be reading about!

  1. We love to read excerpts. Share with us your favourite bit of writing from you latest book.
This is an excerpt from The Standing Stone – Home for Christmas:

Candy grabbed the band and thrust it up her arm and waited. Nothing happened. Breathing heavily, she leant back against the wall, trying to count beats that would still her pounding heart. Nothing happened. As sweat ran down her body, Candy slid down the wall and sat shaking on the floor. She licked her lips as her panic subsided. How much guard training did they give Paul? They must have told him about the wrist bands, how they needed to remain in human contact and that the heat from their bodies kept them working. And the security device, the security device on the wristbands. She remembered the training, she heard the voice on the Screen.
            “To prevent interception of the wrist band by intruders, for example to be used to sound the alarm and summon the armies of the Dome into an ambush, each wrist band contains a security device that is automatically activated if the transfer of band from guard to guard is not deemed swift. The device will explode the wristband and shatter all PDs in the vicinity.”
            Candy rose shakily to her feet and took up her guard position. Scared and confused she watched the needle as it crept towards the red segment.
            Within the Comfort Cubicle, as light warmed her and lifted her mood and water trickled freely into her mouth, Candy began to laugh as a weird euphoria rippled through her body. Acceptance of the Lessons was the key requirement within the Dome and so, to maintain acceptance there could be no questions and therefore, no talking, no discussion, no dissent. Her apartment was aptly named for that's what it did, kept her apart. With every One obliged to carry out their duty for the good of All, who would dissent, even if they could? What would be the consequence, not just to One but to All? But the security band had been bereft of human contact yet remained in tact. No PDs were shattered.
            Candy scrabbled with the hoses as the light began to dim, reattaching her PD as she walked through the door but, this time, she didn't click her visor down but stuck out her tongue and tasted as a faint wisp of air brushed her tongue and caressed her sweaty cheek. She held her breath, torn between clicking her visor down and breathing more of the sweet clean air. She decided that if the air were poisoned or polluted, it was too late now, and began to take deeper breaths. She watched her exhalations billowing from her lips.

  1. That's awesome! Who do you identify with most in your work? And why?
Angel Parsons, the main character in the Lilith Trilogy, has lived with me for four years now and I know her the best of all my characters. I love that she wears a mask, playing her part in a world that she has created for herself. I admire her determination, courage and strength and that there is so much more to her than the sleek, well-groomed persona she portrays.

  1. If you could choose who would play Angel Parsons in the movie or series made from your work, who would it be?
When I created Angel, I had Salma Hayek in mind so she would be my choice to play her in a movie.

  1. Which four words would you use to describe yourself?
Wow, that's difficult! Positive, creative, focussed and loving, at least that's what I aspire to be.

  1. Which four words would you use to describe your work?
Even harder! Inspiring, spiritual, thought provoking, contemporary.
  1. I have to throw this in! That list of favourites we’re all interested in!
Favourite book: A Hatful of Sky by Terry Pratchett
Favourite movie: The Blues Brothers
Favourite TV series: QI
Favourite colour: purple
Favourite food: pineapple
Favourite drink: rooibos
Favourite pet: cat
Favourite season: Spring
Favourite place: My riverbank

  1. Often personal fame and prominence for your work go together, but frequently authors prefer remaining in the background while hoping their work will assume the limelight. Is this true for you, or don’t you mind a bit of fame?
Honestly, I would prefer to remain in the background but, as an Indie writer, that option is not possible. I understand a reader's desire to get to know the author of the book they love and, as there is so much of 'me' in every book I write, I'm happy to share more with my readers. Before I began working with social media, I decided to be myself so, I hope that if readers meet me 'in real life' they will feel they already know me from my blogs, posts and tweets.

  1. That's a healthy way to go about it! Tell us about your next book (we love to know what to look forward to!).
My next book is the sequel to The Standing Stone – Home for Christmas entitled, The Standing Stone – Silence is Broken. The ending of Home for Christmas gives the three women the opportunity to follow a different path and Silence is Broken tells the story of their choices.

  1. And we'd love to showcase it here as well! What comes next, besides a new book project? A holiday, an event?
When we moved to Wales in August 2013, pitched our tent in the field of the house we were buying and waited ten weeks for the purchase to go through, we knew we had a lot of work to do on our dilapidated farmhouse and byre but the storms in February this year took a massive toll on the buildings so, our aim for the following few months is to get a temporary roof on the cow byre and begin rebuilding the stone walls. Both the house and byre are Grade II listed, adding to the difficulties with planning and approval but we're at the building regulations stage now so can proceed to get work under way.

  1. Loads of luck, we'll hold thumbs for you. And finally, if you could choose one person, living or dead, you would like to meet, who would it be and what would you ask of that person?
I would like to meet the Dalai Lama and ask him how he would change the world to make it the compassionate, loving world I believe it could be.

Thank you for spending time with us, Wendy!

We wish Wendy every success with her latest book:

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.

Wendy's other works:


The Lilith Trilogy:

Destiny of Angels

Wrath of Angels

Short story anthologies:

Into the flames

Turn down the heat


Too hot for Angels

The Standing Stone – Home for Christmas


Wendy Woo's Year – A Pocketful of Smiles – 101 ideas for a happy year and a happy you

Connect with Wendy: